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With Dan Glenn retired, Andrew Mabry assumes girls’ volleyball head coaching duties at Newport Harbor

Newport Harbor's Andrew Mabry gives instructions to his team during the Battle of the Bay girls' volleyball match.
Newport Harbor’s Andrew Mabry gives instructions to his team during the Battle of the Bay girls’ volleyball match on Wednesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The Newport Harbor High School girls’ volleyball team went into battle with its crosstown rival on Wednesday night, but it did so without longtime fixture Dan Glenn at the helm.

Glenn, who began coaching the boys’ and girls’ volleyball programs at the school in 1986, retired from teaching in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District in June, district officials said.

“As you likely know, we are not allowing volunteers on our campus at this time,” Newport-Mesa Unified School District spokesperson Annette Franco said in an email Thursday. “The school was recently made aware of an unauthorized volunteer on campus and addressed it by reinforcing this message.

“This district plans to review the volunteer process in October to see what adjustments, if any, may be made as we continue to follow COVID-19 precautions.”

Glenn previously told the Daily Pilot that he was not being paid by the district following his retirement, a response he gave when asked why Andrew Mabry had been listed as the head coach of the program entering the season. Glenn continued to serve as acting head coach to begin the season.

There had been some confusion as to why Glenn began the season with the team but was no longer on the bench as a coach.

Franco said that Glenn was not let go, saying, “He retired and should not have any official capacity with our students or our schools at this time.”

Newport Harbor High School officials declined to discuss Glenn when asked about the matter.

Newport Harbor earned a 25-16, 25-12, 25-19 win over Corona del Mar at home Wednesday evening, its first win in the Battle of the Bay series since Nov. 6, 2009.

Former Newport Harbor head coach Dan Glenn talks with his team during a timeout against Corona del Mar on Sept. 12, 2019.
Former Newport Harbor head coach Dan Glenn talks with his team during a timeout against Corona del Mar on Sept. 12, 2019.
(Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

Word of Glenn’s departure surfaced this week — some fans learned of it when Mabry was announced as head coach during Wednesday’s pregame introductions — and athletic director Jerry Murray declined to comment, citing it as a “personnel issue.” Mabry said he was “not at liberty” to speak on anything regarding the situation.

Glenn in a text Wednesday afternoon said that he “can’t talk on that” and preferred the focus be on the Battle of the Bay showdown.

His daughter Tegan is a junior setter who contributed nine assists to the straight-sets victory over CdM at home, which Glenn attended as a fan.

Newport Harbor, which is the top-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 poll, improved to 12-5 overall with the win.

Mabry, who joined Glenn’s staff in 2019 after seven seasons as Orange Lutheran’s head coach, would not say when he assumed command. Murray said Mabry had been head coach from the start of the season, but Glenn was serving as head coach last month.

Mabry won the CIF Southern Section Division 2 title at Orange Lutheran in 2017 and came to Newport Harbor after accepting a teaching position at the school, where his wife is a counselor. He is also an assistant coach for the boys’ team.

Former boys’ volleyball coach Rocky Ciarelli, who guided the Sailors to the Division 1 championship with Glenn as an assistant in 2019, said that he wasn’t abreast of all the details surrounding the decision, but “as far as I know, there was some parent pressure on” Principal Sean Boulton.

A message left on Boulton’s voicemail at the school seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Glenn led the boys’ and girls’ volleyball programs at Newport Harbor to 17 CIF finals appearances, winning seven section championships with the girls.

As head coach of the boys’ program from 1986 through 2011, his teams won two CIF titles in six finals.

Current boys’ volleyball coach Eric Vallely, whose team lost to Manhattan Beach Mira Costa in the Division 1 final in early June, also declined to comment in a text, saying it was “an extremely tough time for Dan, for the school, for me, and mostly for the team.”

Vallely starred for Newport Harbor in volleyball under Glenn in the early 1990s before winning three NCAA titles as a setter and defensive specialist at UCLA.

Ciarelli, who was the Sailors’ boys’ volleyball coach for five seasons before retiring, said he was stunned by the news.

“It came as a surprise to me, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’m somewhat shocked this would happen in the middle of the year.”

He called Glenn “if not the best, then one of the best coaches in Orange County for 35 or 40 years.”

“He’s demanding, he expects his kids to pay attention and be disciplined, which is a good mark of a coach,” Ciarelli said.

“The biggest thing for me, and this is for his teaching and his coaching, is he cares about the kids. He wants the kids to be the best they can possibly be, and not only for their time on the court at Newport but going on in life as they go to college, as they get jobs, as they get married. He wants to see his kids be successful.

“I think you can’t ask for anything else as a parent or as a player, that you have a coach that cares about each and every one of his players that much.”

In a school year in which girls’ volleyball was greatly impacted by COVID-19, Glenn helped organize an effort last year to give local indoor girls’ volleyball teams a chance to play together in what could have been a lost season. Those teams competed in the six-on-six volleyball format on the beach.

Glenn said in a text Thursday that he intends to continue coaching at the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club.

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